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Why Everyone is Obsessed with Pickleball
Fitness Health + Wellness Wellness

Why Everyone Is Obsessed With Pickleball

July 26, 2022

Pickleball is a fun paddle sport serving up plenty of opportunities to improve your physical and mental well-being while having fun!

BY JAISHREE DREPAUL

Across the United States, pickle-ball — a hybrid of table tennis, racquetball, and tennis — is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, with about 4.6 million people playing it across the country, the USA Pickleball Association says that it is the fastest growing sport in America. A big part of the appeal: Pickleball is not only incredibly fun, it can also serve as a powerful pathway to improved health and wellness.

Why Everyone Is Obsessed With Pickleball

Blair Cremeens, founder of the Michigan Pickleball Association and USA Pickleball ambassador for the district of Eastern Michigan

“Pickleball provides an opportunity for a tremendous amount of physical and mental health benefits. And this is regardless of a person’s age, walk of life, or physical athleticism,” says Blair Cremeens, founder of the Michigan Pickleball Association and USA Pickleball ambassador for the district of Eastern Michigan.

Cremeens, who also works as a pickleball coach at area fitness centers, points to himself as proof. Before he discovered pickleball, Cremeens had zero interest in anything to do with sports or fitness and was a self-professed couch potato. It’s been six years since he started playing — he says he hasn’t looked back once and feels better than ever.

“What’s amazing about this sport is that you can play even if you are not in the greatest shape or even if you have physical limitations such as being in a wheelchair. You can play inside or outside and in all four seasons,” Cremeens says. “Plus, it’s super simple to understand, and because you need to use some mental strategy, almost anyone can learn to play quickly, even during their first match.”

Stephanie Asher Dabbs, the administrator for the Southeast Michigan Pickleball Forum Facebook group, agrees. The West Bloomfield resident has been passionate about the sport since she played her first game with her parents four years ago. She appreciates the benefits of playing regularly, some of which include weight management, improved cardiovascular health, and increased flexibility and strength. Pickleball is also a lower-impact sport, so it’s easier on the body. It’s a bonus for Dabbs, and even more so for her mother, who is 82 and plays almost daily.

“My mother gets so much out of pickleball that I had to recently reschedule one of her medical appointments because it was at the same time as her match,” Dabb says. “I totally get it though, and I hear from people all the time that pickleball can really become addictive, and players love the way they feel when they leave the court.”

Why Everyone Is Obsessed With Pickleball

FUN FOR ALL AGES Stephanie Asher Dabbs (RIGHT) says she has been passionate about pickleball since she played her first game with her parents four years ago. Her 82-year-old mother, Bootsie Asher, plays almost daily.

Cremeens explains that because Pickleball is so easy to learn and engaging, people get hooked on playing again and again. As they improve, players who are eager to test and surpass their skills will want to get active out on the courts more frequently.

“It’s not like doing tough days at the gym. It’s like you don’t even actually realize that you’re really working out and getting into better and better shape,” Cremeens says. “You’re out there having the time of your life, and next thing, you’re losing weight, you’re getting stronger. Maybe you notice that your balance and your hand coordination is improving. And all from playing pickleball.”

Why Everyone Is Obsessed With Pickleball

(left) Stephanie Asher Dabbs and her sister Becky Gutschow took bronze at the 2019 US Open Pickleball Championships in Naples, Florida.

He adds that in addition to the physical benefits, pickleball can improve mental well-being, increase daily joy, and build valuable social connections. Over the years, Cremeens has observed players as they release stress, build self-esteem, and lose themselves in the fun and camaraderie of the sport.

“Humans are meant to be in community, and pickleball has a very distinctive, super-positive communal aspect that is inclusive and that bonds very diverse groups of people together into a kind of family,” he says. “You don’t see differences in people when you play pickleball. There’s not a lot of controversy as it relates to all the things that the world is debating. You can forget about the craziness happening in the world when you step out onto the pickleball court.”

Dabbs also views the support and connection between players as an invaluable health benefit. Her Facebook page is often the first stop for many people who want to know how to get started, and who need current information on where to play in their community, or who just want to find other picklers to meet up with for a game. She also recommends reaching out to local community recreation centers and pickleball organizations to get the lowdown.

“The pickleball court is more than a place to play a sport and run around. It’s a place to release tension and emotion, whether that be the death of a loved one or a really awful day at work,” Dabbs says. “It’s also a place to celebrate victories and share positivity. It helps you connect in friendship with others and supports your whole body and mind.”

 

Do you love Pickleball? Comment below and let us know where in Metro Detroit you play!

 

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1 Comment

  • Georgia Kingsley
    July 28, 2022 at 8:58 AM

    I’m hooked on Pickleball also. Just started playing this summer outdoors at the Grosse Pointe parks or at the new courts at the St Clair Shores Civic Arena. Have met new friends and play 2-3 times a week. Love it.

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